It’s yet another Sunday morning of getting the kids out of the house on time without my husband. He’s playing music this week and has left the house a good two hours before us.
The icing on the cake is that as I write this it is Daylight Savings Time, also known as one of the two most dreadful Sunday’s of the year.
I drag myself out of bed before the baby gets up so I can wash my hair and start making coffee.
Running through the usual I nurse the smallest person in the house, put on makeup while he plays on the bathroom rug, and keep my fingers crossed (though it’s daylight savings so there’s no worry today) that the oldest stays asleep until the last minute. He can be a grouch if he starts watching a show as I’m trying to get him to leave for church.
Many a Sunday we have driven around the block a few times in hopes that anyone have a fit would get it out of their system before we walk into the church nursery.
This particular Sunday my wish comes true and not only does he stay asleep but I manage to get him up, dressed, and eating breakfast without any major breakdown.
But now it’s the baby’s nap-time and we still don’t need to leave, so I tuck him into the car seat with a travel sound machine and say a little prayer that he at least gets a catnap before I shuffle him into the car and then into church.
Finally I start moving kids and all of their accessories into the car, grab my coffee, and realize I haven’t locked the door. So out of the car I go again to solve that problem. Back into the car, oddly enough, this being one of the smoother Sunday transitions in a few weeks.
Me, my 4 month old, and my 4 year old. All locked into the car, and now only able to toss off shoes in dismay … but it doesn’t happen this time. And mama can drink her coffee and listen to podcasts until we get to church.
We are exhausted from the time change, but oddly enough getting to the car was easy today.
Getting out is another story, carrying everything and everyone in at once. I’m looking more like a pack mule than a woman. All to spend the next 3ish hours hearing half a Sunday School lesson, changing diapers left and right, and rocking a baby with my numb left arm because I forgot my Ergo and church naps for the littlest aren’t going as easy.
Why do I torture myself like this? Really, I should just stay home. The place where we aren’t wearing makeup, people can nap in optimal environments, and there are zero blowouts that cover mom, baby, and everyone in a 3 seat Sunday School radius.
As I’m hobbling out of church with my hungry, sleepy, cranky children I remind myself the long term benefits of suffering through a season where mama gets very little from church.
In the long term I want them to know that church is important, to them, to their parents, to all of us. They will never understand the need for corporate worship if we don’t demonstrate this.
While I may only hear 3 words from an entire sermon at the moment, my children are becoming a part of a community of people who will pray for them and teach them about God. With the world we live in, they are also being surrounded with a family of individuals who are striving to live a Christian life in a world that is becoming more and more not Christian. This will allow them to lean on this church family in the future and walk side by side with those who can shoulder the burden of living in a Christian life in a non-Christian world.
Not only are we following Christ’s example of bringing the little children to him in Matthew 19:14, we as mothers are being ever more faithful through this difficult season. Regular church attendance is important for us, even if this particular Sunday we are only getting a small dose of fellowship with friends the few minutes between the end of church service and gathering children to get back into the car. By not stepping away when life is hard, we will in turn be teaching our children the importance of church in more than just the sense of getting to heaven.
Instead they will learn that community matters, prayer is important, and the act of corporately worshiping God does so much more for your soul than an isolated spiritual walk. All of these to hopefully, prayerfully, see the end goal of your babies being Christ followers and having the same zeal to see their peers come to a relationship with God as well.
So while Sunday is a special kind of miserable right now, I have to remember this isn’t forever. Church life will get easier again.